Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Choice modelling and non-market valuation

What influences our travel decisions?
Our choices are used to calculate valuations for products and services.

Choice modelling is a key analytical technique used to study and predict people’s decisions in a variety of contexts, particularly the demand for services and products. Alongside being a highly active academic research area, the models are used routinely to advise policy makers and industry.

We are excited to announce the launch of the Choice Modelling Centre which brings together strong expertise from: 

  • Institute for Transport Studies
  • Leeds University Business School
  • School of Earth and Environment
  • Academic Unit of Health Economics
  • Collaborators from other universities
  • Industrial partners.

The new centre is led from the Institute for Transport Studies by Professor Stephane Hess and Dr Charisma Choudhury. We have created a one stop shop for

  • conducting state-of-the-art theoretical research
  • making a step change in applied work
  • leading the way in postgraduate study
  • providing world class teaching and continuing professional development.

Choice models are used to understand, represent, and forecast human decisions in a variety of contexts, notably in transport research. Applications of choice modelling include mode choice and route choice behaviour.

We have extensive experience of applying these models in the valuation of non-market goods, especially in relation to qualitative aspects of the journey experience, such as journey time, punctuality, comfort and crowding, and personal safety and security.

Our clients and sponsors have included UK government departments, UK public bodies such as the National Audit Office and the Competition Commission, UK public transport operators, as well as similar organisations across Europe and America.

Our academic contributions in choice modelling are published in leading journals. We were instrumental in setting up the International Choice Modelling Conference  and we help edit the Journal of Choice Modelling

Our activities in the field of choice modelling include:

  • Departures from single choice, single decision-maker models, and incorporation of decision-maker attitudes, strategies, and societal influences.
  • Development of more appropriate surveys for capturing data for behavioural modelling, focussing primarily on Stated Preference survey design.
  • Meta-analysis of values of time and elasticities.
  • Ensuring implementation of advanced models in real world studies and providing guidance for good practice in behavioural modelling.
  • Innovative application of non-market valuation studies, including streetscape, and personal safety and security.
  • Exploring new data sources, such as GPS and sensor based data collection.

We encourage applications for Postgraduate Research – please visit the CMC website for more information.

Recent research outputs:

Batley, R.P. & Hess, S. (2013) A simple test for identifying violations of random utility model. Paper presented at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, Washington, D.C.

Daly, A.J., Hess, S. & Train, K.E. (2012) Assuring finite moments for willingness to pay in random coefficients models, Transportation, 39 (1), pp19-31.

Hess, S., Stathopoulos, A. & Daly, A.J. (2012) Allowing for heterogeneous decision rules in discrete choice models: an approach and four case studies. Transportation, 39 (3), pp565-591.

Wardman, M. (2012) Review and meta-analysis of UK time elasticities of travel demand. Transportation, 39 (3), pp465-490.

For further information, please contact:

Professor Stephane Hess or Dr Richard Batley